Ok maybe that second headline is a bit over the top. There has been a lot of fretting about the dangers of choking on hot dogs because of a policy statement on children and choking issued in February by the American Academy of Pediatrics. With summer upon us and the sizzles and smells of tubular meat in the air, the fear mongering is being ratcheted up! Now don’t misunderstand me, choking is a bad thing. It has always been a bad thing.
My mom relates a tale to her and I driving down the road when I was a small boy. More than likely I was standing up in the back seat with no seatbelt (you just didn’t do that in the early 60’s). She had given me a lifesavers candy. As she tells it, I began to choke on it and she had to pull the car over and pull me from the back seat. The image of me hanging upside down from my mother’s arms; her smacking the crap out of my back, makes me wonder why she wasn’t arrested for child abuse. If that were to happen today, I am sure she would have. From that day forward I was not allowed to eat a hot dog that wasn’t cut into 5000 pieces until I reached the age of 17. Even today “Grandma” will tell her grandchildren to “cut that hot dog up before you eat it”. This does not thrill my 20 year old daughter. Do we have to completely change a historic food icon because parents don’t tell their kids to “chew your food” or because they don’t cut their hot dogs up before they serve them?
I have been a lover of tubular meat as my posts on this blog imply (here). I am dead set against any kind of regulations that would change the shape of the hot dog or brat, or polish sausage or Italian sausage or…you get the point. Thankfully there are TTM’s (Tubular Meat Modifiers). Creative entrepreneurs have invented aftermarket devices to save kids from certain death from tubular meat.
Creative Innovations has created the “Guard Dog” to transform the sinister “danger dog” into, as they put it a “Safety Cut Hot Dog” that will breakup into small pieces when chewed. All of this is done with an eye on reducing the choking hazard.
If you’re looking to reduce choking AND have fun, there is “Octodog”. No this isn’t hotdogs made from octopus (note to self: “tentacle tube steak”) it is a device that makes a hot dog look like an octopus. It also helps to reduce choking by sending your kid screaming from the dinner table because they think there is a cephalopod on their plate.
Finally, if you’re feeling a bit uptight and inadequate in the tubular meat department, Kalex Enterprises has a solution. They have created the Wynder’s Spiral Hot Dog Cutter. As their website says “the cut allows the hot dog, brat, or sausage to unwind so now it fits the bun better. We all want a dog that fits the bun better now don’t we? Due to the PG nature of this blog, I won’t discuss the how the Spiral Hot Dog Cutter impacts choking. We will leave that to a different blog.
The bottom line is, don’t change the way we make the dog, if you are concerned about a choking hazard there are plenty of aftermarket solutions to help. Go boldly into this grilling season resting assured that American ingenuity will keep you safe.